Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Bochum in Western Germany to protest against planned job cuts at the city’s Opel factory.
It would be one of the hardest hit under plans by Opel’s owner General Motors to reduce its workforce across Europe by up to 20 percent in a bid to boost profits. Workers have been on strike in Bochum since the announcement was made last Thursday. Employees at other GM factories across Europe have also halted work in solidarity. The stoppage at Bochum has also had a knock-on effect on some plants which rely on spare parts produced there. General Motors has not made a profit in Europe since 1999 and says it needs to save 500 million euros a year. Analysts believe the company’s determined to do what it takes despite the prospect of drawn-out strikes in its Opel, Vauxhall and Saab plants across Europe. Management and unions in Germany say they are working on ways to make Opel’s German plants more competitive to keep them open.